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Disabilities USDA-NRCS Missouri Sharon Small, Disability Emphasis Program Manager. What is considered a disability?. physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual; a record of such an impairment

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Disabilities usda nrcs missouri sharon small disability emphasis program manager

DisabilitiesUSDA-NRCS MissouriSharon Small, Disability Emphasis Program Manager

Disabilities usda nrcs missouri sharon small disability emphasis program manager

What is considered a disability?

  • physical or mental impairmentthat substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual;

  • a record of such an impairment

  • being regarded as having such an impairment.

Disabilities usda nrcs missouri sharon small disability emphasis program manager

What is considered a physical impairment?

A physical impairment is any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin or endocrine.

Disabilities usda nrcs missouri sharon small disability emphasis program manager

What is considered a mental impairment?

A mental impairment is any psychological or mental disorder. Examples include: mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, specific learning disabilities.

Disabilities usda nrcs missouri sharon small disability emphasis program manager

What is NOT considered a disability?

  • The following are not considered disabilities:

  • homosexuality and bisexuality;

  • transvestitism, transsexuals, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders;

  • compulsive gambling, kleptomania, or pyromania;

  • psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from current illegal use of drugs.

I am disabled and my workplace prevents me from doing my job effectively what can i do
I am disabled and my workplace prevents me from doing my job effectively,what can I do?

  • Evaluate your work space.Call the TARGET Center for a work station assessment (see handout).

  • Submit a request for reasonable accommodations.

Disabilities usda nrcs missouri sharon small disability emphasis program manager

NRCS Policy on Disabilities –It is the USDA-NRCS policy to make reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of qualified applicants or employees with disabilities, except when such an accommodation would cause an undue hardship to the agency.

Reasonable accommodations
Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Accommodations are defined as a change in the work environment or the application process that would enable a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.

How do i request a reasonable accommodation
How do I request a Reasonable Accommodation?

  • Either written or oral request to immediate supervisor.

When should i request a reasonable accommodation
When should I request a Reasonable Accommodation?

  • Anytime

  • 30 days from time of request accommodation should be in place unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Reasonable accommodations summary
Reasonable Accommodations Summary

  • Remember, anyone can request an accommodation at anytime.

  • Additional accommodations may be needed in the future.

  • Confidentially is maintained at all times.

Disability facts1
Disability Facts:

  • Nearly one out of every five Americans has some type of disability. That is more than 54 million people or 20% of our population nationwide.

Disability facts cont
Disability Facts (cont.):

  • Some disabilities are visible and readily apparent. Examples: wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, or other assistive devices, service animals or white canes.

  • Many other disabling conditions are invisible, such as deafness, hard of hearing, mental illness, autism, heart or respiratory conditions.

Disability facts cont1
Disability Facts (cont.):

  • According to 2000 census report, 288,000 individuals working in agriculture experience physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities that affect performing one or more essential work tasks.  

Disability facts cont2
Disability Facts (cont.):

  • Chances are, you have come in contact with a farmer, rancher or landowner with a disability.

Communicating effectively with people who have a disability
Communicating Effectivelywith People Who Have A Disability

Use people first language
Use “People First Language”

People First Language describes what a person has, not what the person is. People First Language puts the person before the disability

People first language examples
People First Language Examples


Handicapped, crippled

He’s mentally retarded

She’s autistic

He’s a quad, or crippled

She’s wheelchair-bound

Handicapped parking


People with disabilities

He has a cognitive disability

She has autism

He has a physical disability

She uses a wheelchair

Accessible parking

General communication tips
General Communication TIPS

  • It is perfectly acceptable to offer to shake hands when you are introduced to a person with a disability, even when the disability involves limited hand use or an artificial limb. Shaking hands with the left hand is also acceptable.

General communication tips cont
General Communication TIPS(cont.)

  • You may offer to assist a person with a disability, but wait until your offer has been accepted. Then, ask for instructions on how you can best assist.

General communication tips cont1
General CommunicationTIPS (cont.)

  • Address people with disabilities just as you do everyone else in the same circumstance. If everyone is being addressed by first name, then by all means address the person with a disability the same way.

General communication tips cont2
General CommunicationTIPS (cont.)

  • Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to use common expressions such as “See you later,” or “Did you hear about that?” that seem to relate to a person’s disability.

  • Ask questions if you are not sure about what to do.

General communication tips cont3
General Communication TIPS (cont.)

For more information online:

  • www.disabilityisnatural.com/

  • www.fpg.unc.edu/~ncodh/TipsonCommunications.pdf

  • www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/mythfact.htm

  • www.apda.usda.gov/Communication/general.htm

I have a farmer who has recently lost a limb is there anything i can do to help
I have a farmer who has recently lost a limb,is there anything I can do to help?

YES! There are several resources available for farmers, ranchers and landowners with disabilities. AgrAbility is one of the best.


  • The AgrAbility Project was created to assist people with disabilities employed in agriculture.

  • The Project assists people involved in production agriculture who work both on small and large operations.

Agrability cont
AgrAbility (cont.)

  • Disabilities that AgrAbility assists with are not limited to traumatic injuries. AgrAbility assists farmers with all types of disabilities and limitations.

    Examples include: including chronic health conditions or pain, such as arthritis, heart conditions, visual impairments, hearing impairments, respiratory diseases, and traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries.

Agrability cont1
AgrAbility (cont.)

  • The goal of AgrAbility is to provide assistance and resources to farmers with disabilities that allow them to continue farming.

  • AgrAbility provides individualized services, both on and off the farm, to help create a comprehensive, individualized plan to allow the disabled farmer to continue farming. AgrAbility involves not only the farmer, but the family, community, agricultural professionals, medical professions and farm implement manufacturers.

Agrability cont2
AgrAbility (cont.)

  • Statewide in Missouri, the following services are available:

     - Farm House Accessibility Surveys and Information  - Agricultural Worksite Accessibility Surveys  - Assistive Technology Resources  - Educational Materials  - Equipment Modification Information  - Independent Living Resources  - Technical Support

Agrability cont3
AgrAbility (cont.)

Contact information:

  • www.fse.missouri.edu/agrability/new/

  • www.agrabilityproject.org

  • Call: 1-800-995-8503

Civil rights contacts
Civil Rights Contacts

Area 3 representative:

Jeff Gibson, Civil Engineer

(660) 747-8200 ext. 3

Soil & Water Conservation District representative:

Kenny Sampsel, District Soil Conservationist

(660) 646-6220 ext. 121

Missouri Department of Conservation representative:

Rose Marie Hopkins

(573) 751-4932

Special emphasis programs
Special Emphasis Programs

The Mission of Special Emphasis Programs is to provide guidance to the Agency concerning equal employment opportunity for all personnel, in personnel management policies and practices, as well as in NRCS sponsored programs and activities. In Missouri, the Special Emphasis Program Manager's (SEPMs) are available to provide help and guidance to employees concerning employment issues, EEO & CR, and also outreach and assistance to agency customers.

Special emphasis program managers
Special Emphasis ProgramManagers

American Indian/Alaska Native Montie Hawksmontie.hawks@mo.usda.gov

Black EmphasisDrenda Williamsdrenda.williams@mo.usda.gov

Disability EmphasisSharon Smallsharon.small@mo.usda.gov

Federal Women’s Mary Williamsmary.williams@mo.usda.gov

Hispanic EmphasisAngie VanDykeangie.vandyke@mo.usda.gov

For more information online,


Nondiscrimination statement
Nondiscrimination Statement

  • The USDA nondiscrimination statement should be used on all printed materials, PowerPoint presentations, posters, direct mail pieces and any other items for public distribution.

  • The long version is to be used whenever possible. The short version can be used if there is no possible way the long version will fit.

Disabilities usda nrcs missouri sharon small disability emphasis program manager

Nondiscrimination Statement(cont.)

Long version:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Nondiscrimination statement cont
Nondiscrimination Statement(cont.)

Short version:

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.